Where cannabis consumption is legal, employers can no longer drug test for THC, right? Wrong.

Even in states where medical or recreational marijuana is legal, employers are free to perform drug tests on their employees. They also are free to insist on a drug-free work place.

Recent court decisions in Washington, Oregon and California, among other states, have upheld the employer’s right to deny employment to cannabis users and to discipline or terminate employees for marijuana use, even if the employee is using medical marijuana under state law. Employers may not only test for impairment on the job; they also may test for marijuana use, even if that use occurred weeks prior and has zero impact on job performance.

After Washington legalized cannabis, the City of Seattle notified its workers that it would maintain a drug-free workplace. The city justified this stance by noting that it receives federal funding and under federal law, marijuana is still illegal. The city does not want to put its federal funding at risk. Many employers, particularly companies and governmental bodies in the public safety, transportation and manufacturing industries, are doing the same.

Even residual amounts of marijuana in your system can be grounds for job termination if your employer takes a hardline stance with its drug policy. If you consume marijuana in your home in accordance with state law, you can still be fired if your employer maintains a drug-free workplace. Take a look at your employer’s HR policies. If you plan to keep your job, marijuana consumption may not be an option.

Sorry.

  • Dylan

    Definitely something that legal medical marijuana users should take note of. When something is legal in the state, you have to take note that it’s still federally illegally and of course, employers are still going to have the right to drug test for it as well. Opiates are still checked in drug screening tests, which opiates are commonly prescribed as pain medications. More employers are going to move toward no longer screening or testing for medical marijuana.

  • This is disappointing.. Although there may be marijuana detected in your body (not being under the influence while working), it depends on whether or not this impacts your work.
    There are controversies regarding the legalisation of marijuana and how this would impact the workplace, but it really is circumstantial. Marijuana remains in the body for about 4 weeks (heavy users), which makes testing difficult to validate. Understandably, legalising will definitely come with controversies like this.

  • Fred

    This is good. Those that don’t smoke don’t have incentive to start, and those that already smoke with nothing to lose can continue on their merry way.